Reader’s Choice: Top 10 Hearing News Stories of 2020

While the pandemic certainly was a big topic throughout 2020, it wasn’t the only story making headlines. Industry developments, advances in research, innovative and disruptive technologies were also among this year’s list of ‘most read’ stories of the year at Hearing News Watch.

Below we highlight the Top 10 Most Read news stories of 2020.


Top 10 Hearing News Stories of 2020


1) Uncharted Waters: Hearing Industry Leaders Discuss Challenges of Navigating COVID-19 Crisis

In early April 2020, with many countries beginning to go on lockdown and ordering non-essential businesses to close, HHTM President Kevin Liebe reached out to several hearing industry executives to find out how they were responding to the crisis.

2) Eargo to go Public: Company Files for $100 Million IPO

In September, Direct-to-consumer hearing aid manufacturer, Eargo, filed with the SEC to raise up to $100 million in an initial public offering (IPO). In October, the company announced an upsized IPO, exceeding $140M.

3) Starkey Unveils Livo Edge AI; First Custom Lithium Ion Rechargeable Hearing Aid

In January, Starkey unveiled the Livio Edge AI hearing aid at the company’s Hearing Innovation Expo in Las Vegas. The new Livio Edge AI platform includes the industry’s first lithium-ion rechargeable custom hearing aid, as well as Edge Mode – which applies artificial intelligence “for patient-driven, on-demand fine-tuning of the sound environment”.

4) In Historic First, Washington University Surgeons Restore Hearing in Patients with Acoustic Neuromas

The Department of Otolaryngology at Washington University in St. Louis made history on July 15 when it completed its first case in a clinical trial to restore hearing in patients with acoustic neuromas.

5) Envoy Medical Receives FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for Fully Implanted Acclaim® Cochlear Implant

Unlike existing traditional cochlear implants that are partially implanted and have an external microphone and processor, if approved by the FDA, the Acclaim would be the first-of-its-kind cochlear implant without any external components.

6) Phonak Unveils Virto Black at CES 2020: Fully-Connected Hearing Aid Shaped like a Hearable

Virto Black was designed to blur the lines between a hearing aid and a hearable, which according to the company is to “help people seek treatment sooner thanks to the stylish design and innovative hearing aid technology designed to meet the needs of even severe hearing losses”.

7) Frequency Therapeutics Finds Sustained Improvement in Hearing Loss Patients Treated with FX-322

“Historically, patients with acquired chronic SNHL do not regain their lost hearing,” commented lead investigator Susan King, M.D., FACS. “The FX-322 Phase 1/2 study has provided promising evidence of clinically meaningful improvements in word recognition, and based on the recent longer-term follow-up data, we believe that this benefit may be sustained for many months following a single dose of this investigational treatment”

8) More than 10% of COVID-19 Patients Report Decreased Hearing Two Months After Hospital Discharge

A significant number of patients reported a deterioration in their hearing when questioned eight weeks after discharge from a hospital admission for COVID-19, according to University of Manchester audiologists, in a study supported by the NIHR Manchester Biomedical Research Centre (BRC). 

9) AirPods Get New Spatial Audio and Personal Amplification Features in iOS 14

“This new accessibility feature is designed to amplify soft sounds and adjust certain frequencies for an individual’s hearing, to help music, movies, phone calls, and podcasts sound more crisp and clear. Headphone Accommodations also supports Transparency mode on AirPods Pro, making quiet voices more audible and tuning the sounds of your environment to your hearing needs.” The new Spatial Audio feature will support audio encoded in 5.1, 7.1 and Dolby Atmos.

10) Sound Pharma Advances to Phase 3 Clinical Trials for Meniere’s Disease Drug, SPI-1005

SPI’s clinical data from two completed multi-center, randomized, placebo-controlled studies (Phase 1b and Phase 2b clinical trials) showed that oral delivery of SPI-1005 for 21 or 28 days improved sensorineural hearing loss and tinnitus in patients affected by Meniere’s Disease.